We woke up to a view of the largest town in the Galapagos, known as Puerto Ayora. After breakfast, we landed on the town pier to board buses, and we took off for the tortoise breeding center of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station. Once we arrived at the facilities of the breeding center, the resident scientist and staff welcomed us and invited us to walk into their facilities. We enjoyed a fantastic presentation on giant tortoise ecology and the migration of these reptiles.

PhD Ainoa Nieto has been working on Galapagos Giant Tortoise Ecology for ten years. Her experience highlights her dedication to studying these giant reptiles within their fragile ecosystem. Who better than her to lecture us about her work to restore the dynasty of the giant tortoise species to the Galapagos? This week is very special. We are presenting a series of lectures on board with the European Royal Academy of Doctors to discuss climate change issues, education, ocean pollution, the connection of art and science, and other extremely relevant topics about the current state of our planet. We are also traveling with four Nobel Prize winners:

Aharon Ciechanover, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2004

Erwin Neher, Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 1991

Richard R. Schrock, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005

Richard John Roberts, Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 1993

Guests aboard National Geographic Endeavour II have been delighted with all the lectures and discussions on board. They have also loved the interesting sites and features offered on Santa Cruz Island.

During the afternoon, we took buses to the highlands to explore a small family-owned farm, where they process sugarcane, Galapagos coffee, and sugarcane rum. This was a great opportunity to learn about the social side of the islands and their inhabitants. After this visit, we went to a place called “Rancho Manzanillo,” where we had lunch and saw several giant tortoises in their natural habitat.

We finished a delightful day with local traditional musicians coming on board to perform for us up on the sky deck of National Geographic Endeavour II.